Monday, October 27, 2008

Career Planning and Development

Sunday, October 26, 2008

OD by aman22j

Organization Development
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: human hr)


Organizational Engineering

Leadership, Team Building, Change Management, Learning, Two Person Analysis

Gary Salton Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States

Learning, Two Person Analysis

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hierarchy Influence on Team Leadership

By: Gary J. Salton, Ph.D., Chief R&D
Professional Communications, Inc.

This research blog looks at team leadership at various organizational levels. The research draws on 976 teams from 236 unique organizations in which the rank of the leader was known. Table 1 summarizes this database.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Book: Best Practices In Leadership Development

Closing the global leadership competency gap: The motorola GOLD process

Closing the global leadership competency gap: The motorola GOLD process
Organization Development Journal, Winter 1998 by Foxon, Marguerite J


In a recent speech at the Academy of Management Meetings in 1998, Peter Drucker highlighted the importance of organizations finding and developing talented leadership. As part of the team that developed the management development program for General Electric in the 1950's, the first program of its kind, Drucker continues to argue that management development is vital to organizational effectiveness (Cady, 1998). Phillips (1997) adds that Human Resource Development and management education must become a true business partner in the organization. This partnership is contingent on three things. First, HRD and training groups need to move beyond being event based, and be part of the organization's strategic and operational framework. Second, operating managers across the organization need to be seen as customers with whom strong relationships are established. Finally, evaluating the impact of interventions and programs is essential. Those HRD and training groups that fail to track their programs' impact are running the risk of losing a valuable customer their own organization.

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Traditional approaches to leadership development are often inadequate when applied to the rapidly shifting sands of the business environment. Changes driven by new technology, the globalization of commerce, and the emergence of virtual business groups and teams have caused HRD and training groups to rethink the competencies needed by high performing leaders. The processes which will accelerate the development of these leaders while enabling the organization to maximize their skills and abilities are urgently needed if we are to optimize these changes. This article outlines Motorola's experience establishing such a partnership in order to accelerate the leadership development of high performing managers.

In the first half of this decade the Messaging Systems Products Group (MSPG) in Motorola experienced rapid growth fueled in particular by globalization of markets and retail distribution to consumers. The resulting dramatic shift in both the size and geographic distribution of MSPG's business began to place unique demands on the organization's future. Up to 70% of our business was projected to come from outside the USA within a very short period. In 1994, we estimated that by the year 2000 an additional 200 senior-level managers would be needed to lead our business globally.

Traditional training approaches currently employed in MSPG would not be able to develop the required numbers within the time frame. What was needed was an accelerated leadership development process capable of producing a ,new breed' of leader to take the business into the 21 st century. These leaders will need to transform the business by establishing the FLEX(tm) paging technology as the world wide standard enabling significant value-added services to the consumer. We recognized the need for leaders to manage the business both as a Global Enterprise and as autonomous decentralized organizations, and move from a technology driving to a market driving mindset. Additionally they will need to anticipate change to stay ahead of one of the most dynamic marketplaces in the world, and will be constantly challenged to be creative, innovative and decisive, with an unwavering commitment to the MSPG vision. A lack of the right leadership cadre would result in a failure to take advantage of the markets and a loss of our business impetus. In this context of growth and projected leadership shortfall, we built the Global Organization Leadership Development (GOLD(tm)) process, designed to use MSPG's urgent and critical business challenges as a platform to develop the leadership we require to move into the 21 st century marketplace.

What is GOLD

GOLD goes beyond competencybased leadership training. It is an accelerated leadership development process incorporating three elements. The most visible element is the training piece. The other two are the Business Challenges (the action learning) and GOLD Miner, a tracking process and database.

The training is held each quarter, and amounts to 21 days spread over three months. In the first month approximately 35 participants meet in Asia for 7 days. In the second month they meet in North America for 8 days, and finally in Europe in the third month for 6 days. Who are these managers? Firstly, they must be on our list of recognized high potentials. They are our brightest and best middle managers. Secondly, they come from all regions of the business (Asia, North America, Latin America, Europe), and from all functions-not only engineers but finance, HR, sales, marketing, new product development, etc.

Action learning is a powerful means of contextualizing the training and enhancing transfer of newly learned skills and knowledge (Dixon, 1998). In our model of action learning, a participant's nomination for GOLD is as a member of a Business Challenge Team. General Manager's first select strategic business issues which "keep them awake at night". They then identify high potential managers for GOLD. These managers are formed into cross functional (and invariably cross regional) Business Challenge teams prior to the commencement of the training. The action learning is integrated into the training piece and continues on long after the three months of GOLD training. During the three month period they are attending the three GOLD training sessions each team will work on its Business Challenge over and above their normal work. No time is specifically allocated for working on these Challenges, and all Teams continue meeting and working on their Business Challenge for many months after the GOLD training. This is in line with our view that outstanding leaders have to find ways to achieve outcomes, despite time and resource constraints.




As a Senior Training Manager, I manage 100 staff and manage six divisions - organization development, lean manufacturing and supply chain, human capital development, technical development, training operations, and front line employee development.

In the process of continuous improvement and change, I apply three principles of management - strength based management (focus on their strength and not weaknesses), coaching (develop solution and competency together, not to find faults and pressure for deadlines), and appreciative leadership (appreciate their works and know them in person). The department is growing and people are motivated and appreciated. Even the people outside of the department told me that.

In retrospective, we must love and care for people, make them feel important and challenge them to next level appropriately. I can see confidence, motivation and care in their eyes.

I am satisfied. My work in my current company is almost over. I have laid down the framework for leadership, supervisory, customer sensitivity, lean supply chain and lean manufacturing for them.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Conference:National Manufacturing Conference KL 2008

Conference:National Manufacturing Conference 2008
November 26, 2008

Location: Kuala Lumpur - Crowne Plaza Mutiara Kuala Lumpur
Country: Malaysia
We are pleased to inform that the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) with the support of the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA) will be organising a National Manufacturing Conference on November 26, 2008 with the following objectives:

• Update the manufacturing community on latest policies, trends and
challenges affecting businesses;
• Share strategies and established practices of top performing
enterprises in mitigating challenges;
• Provide opportunities for networking and the exchange of ideas and
experiences among conference participants, invited guests and

YB Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Minister of International Trade & Industry, Malaysia will officiate the Conference and deliver the keynote address.

Experienced CEOs, consultants and academicians who will be making presentations include:
• Mr. Satish Lele, Vice President of Industrial Technologies, Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific;
• Dr. Yeah Kim Leng, Group Chief Economist, RAM Holding Bhd.;
• Assoc. Prof. Toh Mun Heng, Department of Business Policy,
National University of Singapore;
• YBhg Dato’ Alfred Teh, Executive Chairman, Eng Teknologi Holdings Bhd;
• YBhg Dato’ Afifuddin Abdul Kadir, Deputy Director-General 1, MIDA;
• YBhg Datuk Hafsah Hashim, Chief Executive Officer, SMIDEC;
• YBhg Dato’ Ismail Abdul Rahim, Director General of Department of Labour, Ministry of Human Resources;
• YBhg Dato’ Simon Wong, Managing Director, Dell Asia-Pacific Sdn Bhd;
• YBhg Dato’ Poh Kim Seng, Executive Chairman, MS Elevators Sdn Bhd;
• Prof. Dr. Rajah Rasiah, Professor of Technology and Innovation Policy, University of Malaya;
• Dr. Magdi Batato, Executive Director - Production, Nestlé Products Sdn Bhd
Registration Info: This Conference is 100% HRDF claimable under SBL scheme.
REGISTER NOW to enjoy RM100 discount per registration for the first 100 participants! Enclosed is the brochure and Registration form. The duly completed form should be returned to FMM Head Office together with the correct payment made in favour of “FMM Services Sdn Bhd” by November 19, 2008. For further enquiries, please contact Ms V.Arasy / Miss Melanie Wong of the FMM Secretariat at 03-62761211, fax: 03-62745239 / 1266 / 7288 or e-mail /

2008 Corporate Learning Factbook Values U.S. Training Market at $58.5B

2008 Corporate Learning Factbook Values U.S. Training Market at $58.5B, with Companies...

Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:48pm EST
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2008 Corporate Learning Factbook Values U.S. Training Market at $58.5B, with Companies Spending an Average of $1,202 Per Employee

Bersin & Associates Study Finds Management and Leadership Training
Receives Highest Percentage Of Training Budgets
OAKLAND, Calif.--(Business Wire)--Although management represents a small percentage of the corporate
workforce, it gets the lion's share of the corporate training budget,
according to Bersin & Associates' just-published 2008 Corporate
Learning Factbook. Approximately 21% of training program dollars is
spent on leadership development and management/supervisory training.

"Corporations are investing heavily in current and up-and-coming
leaders," said Josh Bersin, president of Bersin & Associates, the only
research and advisory firm solely focused on enterprise learning and
talent management. "We see an emphasis in this area across all
sectors. Looming retirements, gaps in management talent, and economic
pressures are causing companies to funnel dollars into their
leadership pipelines."

One of the company's most popular studies, the 77-page 2008
Corporate Learning Factbook analyzes a wide range of metrics,
including: budgets, expenditures per learner, cost per student hour,
program priorities, budget allocations, staffing sizes, staff to
learner ratios, staff to total spending, technology usage and budgets,
and outsourcing spending. The study is based on data collected by an
August 2007 survey conducted in partnership with Training Magazine.

The Factbook offers corporate training executives baseline metrics
which can be used to assess the efficiencies of their own corporate
training initiatives. The Factbook includes 130 data points broken
down by company size and industry sector, so executives can compare
their own metrics with those from comparable organizations.

Josh Bersin will discuss the report's findings and offer
benchmarking guidance in a free webinar tomorrow, Wednesday, January
30, 2:00 p.m. EST. To register, go to
here The webinar will
cover these and other findings:

-- The corporate learning market grew slightly from 2006 to 2007,
increasing from $55.8B to $58.5. Spending on products and
services grew from $15.8B in 2006 to $16.38B in 2007.

-- The average spending per learner is $1,202, a figure that is
roughly equivalent to last year. The highest spending sector
is finance and insurance ($1,061 per learner) and the lowest
is retail ($594 per learner).

-- While management/supervisory training and leadership
development is a top priority overall, specific industries
invest heavily in other employee audiences as well. For
instance, in telecommunications, 23% of training program
dollars is spent on customer service training; technology
companies invest 29% of training dollars on sales training;
and pharmaceuticals spend 25% on compliance and other
mandatory training.

-- E-learning has grown dramatically. The use of self-study
e-learning now accounts for 20% of student hours, up from last
year's figure of 15%. This growth is driven largely by an
increase in online training among small organizations (100-999
employees), which are acquiring the skills and technology to
make online training a reality.

-- The younger generation of learners is driving changes in
learning strategies. This year's study shows a sharp increase
in new web-based and collaborative learning resources, such as
podcasts, communities of practice, blogs, and wikis.

-- Reliance on outsourcing continues to increase in two
categories: the use of outside instructors and custom content
development. Outsourcing of LMS administration showed a
decline in 2007, as did use of offshore content developers.

-- Today 38% of organizations are using a learning management
system (LMS), with the highest growth in usage among
mid-market buyers. Over half of all companies are using a
virtual classroom tool, and between 20 to 30% are using
application simulation and rapid e-learning tools.

"This study is the most detailed and up-to-date view of corporate
learning and development available," said Karen O'Leonard, research
director for the study. "Our rigorous research methodology, combined
with the extensive survey database we have built over the last few
years, gives us a unique ability to quantify key metrics and provide
fact-supported analysis of important trends."

Factbook findings are the foundation for benchmarking workshops
held at Bersin & Associates' upcoming research conference, IMPACT
2008: The Business of Talent, April 22-24, in St. Petersburg, FL. For
details, go to A second webinar covering the
report is scheduled for Tuesday, February 26, at 2:00 p.m. EST. To
register, go to here

The Corporate Learning Factbook is available at no cost to Bersin
& Associates research members. Copies can also be purchased for $595.
For more information, including a table of contents, go to

About Bersin & Associates

Bersin & Associates is the only research and advisory consulting
firm focused solely on research in enterprise learning and talent
management. Bersin & Associates' WhatWorks(R) research and
research-based services are designed to deliver actionable direction
and to help improve operational effectiveness and business impact.

Bersin & Associates research members gain access to a
comprehensive library of best practices, case studies, benchmarks, and
in-depth market analyses designed to guide professionals in making
fast and confident decisions. Research areas include planning and
strategy, learning programs and delivery, talent management,
technology and infrastructure, and measurement and analytics. Member
benefits include in-depth advisory services, access to proprietary
webcasts, on-site analyst visits, and strategic workshops.

Bersin & Associates is the host of the first research conference
on enterprise learning and talent management, IMPACT 2008: The
Business of Talent, scheduled for April 22-24 in St Petersburg,
Florida (

For more information, go to or call 561 455 0622.

Bersin & Associates
Linda Galloway, 203-790-1591

Copyright Business Wire 2008


The Corporate Learning Factbook® 2008: The U.S. Corporate Training Market

Date Published: 1/23/2008

Author: Karen O’ Leonard (more research by Karen O’ Leonard)

Industry Study




This industry report provides detailed benchmarking data on the U.S. corporate training marketplace. Table of Contents

Less Info
Research ID: 6704
Primary Subject Area: Learning Programs
Seconday Subject Area: Learning Programs, Learning Measurement, LMS, Learning on Demand
Industry: Cross-Industry
Application Area: Cross-Application
Research Purpose: Costs and Benchmarking
Audience Level: Beginner - New to the Topic, Intermediate - Some Experience, Advanced - Extensive Experience
What You Will Learn: Benchmarks on training budgets and staffing by industry and company size.Benchmarks on learning programs by industry and company size.Benchmarks on learning technologies by industry and company size.
The 2008 Corporate Learning Factbook® is the US training industry's most complete and comprehensive study of corporate training budgets, spending, delivery volumes, staffing, and trends. This annual report contains facts and statistics as well as extensive analysis and interpretation. The report also includes guidelines on the usage of this information for benchmarking.

New for 2008. Our 2008 report includes data on spending allocations per program area as well as usage of new, collaborative learning methods. Specifically, the 2008 Corporate Learning Factbook® includes the following data, broken down by company size and industry:

Industry Spending and Staffing Benchmarks
  • Total US training expenditures
  • Total US spending on training payroll
  • Total US training outsourcing spending
  • Training budget changes from 2006 to 2007
  • Training expenditures per learner
  • Training staff size changes 2006 vs. 2007
  • Staff to learner ratios
  • Payroll to total spending ratios
  • Spending allocation by program area

Consumption and Training Volume Benchmarks
  • Top program priorities in aggregate and by industry
  • Budget allocation to top program priorities

Consumption and Training Volume Benchmarks
  • Total student hours consumed per learner
  • Cost per student hour consumed
  • Percent of training delivered online vs. in classroom in aggregate and by industry
  • Online vs. classroom delivery trends by program area
  • Blended learning trends

Technology Trends and Benchmarks
  • LMS usage and trends
  • LMS consolidation trends
  • Technology spending as a percentage of total spending
  • LCMS (Learning Content Management System) usage and trends
  • Rapid E-Learning (Powerpoint publishing) usage and trends
  • Application Simulation Tools usage and trends
  • Virtual Classroom usage and trends
  • Podcasting usage and trends
  • Use of Communities of Practice
  • Use of Blogs
  • Use of Wikis

Learning Outsourcing Statistics and Trends
  • Outsourcing of custom content development
  • Outsourcing of instruction/facilitation
  • Outsourcing of LMS administration
  • Outsourcing of learner support
  • LMS hosting (external)
  • Offshoring usage trends.

Summary Tables and Benchmarking Guidance

The study includes detailed summary tables to help readers identify just the information they need. It also includes a step-by-step guidelines to help readers benchmark themselves. Please note: Bersin & Associates offers customized Learning Organization Benchmarking by industry, best practices, and by organization size.


First Enterprise Learning in China – November 2008 Shanghai (CN), September 2008 - Enterprise Learning China 2008 is the first international exhibition and conference dedicated to employee training and development solutions for Chinese businesses. It will be held in Shanghai at the Pudong Expo on November 11th and 12th and focuses on multinational and large national corporations based in China, especially Shanghai.

The exhibition features themed "villages", including eLearning, Management Development and Coaching, IT Training, Training and Presentation Aids, Continuous Adult Education, Staff Development, and Certification for both users and professionals. It is a B2B international exhibition and convention, the sister show of iLearning Forum Paris, which is held annually.

There are currently exhibitors from China, France, the USA, India, the UK, and other countries and to date the main professional roles represented in the registration list are HR directors, Chief Learning Officers, T&D Managers, Management Development Directors, Training Managers, Education Directors, Event Managers, Learning Consultants, and Training Managers.

On November 10th, delegates, exhibitors, and visitors will be able to attend a choice of pre-conference workshops. There are four workshops designed to teach the latest methods and strategies used by training management teams to manage human resource development and education in a fast-paced global market place with the latest technology.

Information on exhibition space and speaking possibilities as part of the conference can be found on the website.

More info:


Training Trends Over 10 Years by Mike Morrison

Training Trends Over 10 Years
The number 10Last year Mike Morrison helped launch the Develop the Developer (DTD) survey. Its aim was to look at the world of HRD today and compare results with a similar survey taken in the 1990s. The results of this are more far reaching that we first expected. Here he reveals some of the headline results and how they compare to 10 years ago.

Who is the average person in HRD?
10 years ago it was a man aged between 36 and 56. Employed in a company, not a member of a professional institute (but a member of a special interest group – AMED, university group, etc). Been in the role for five or more years and undertaken 30+ days of CPD in his career to date.
Today the typical person in an HRD role is a woman aged between 36 and 56, employed in a company, a member of the CIPD. She has been in the role for five years or more and has undertaken 30+ days of CPD in her career to date.
"Today the typical person in an HRD role is a woman aged between 36 and 56, employed in a company, and a member of the CIPD."Mike Morrison, director, RapidBI Ltd
So from an equal opportunities point of view, the demographics used to be male (64%) whereas in the latest DTD survey this has completely reversed to be female (64%). This is a considerable change over the past 10 years.
Although there has been an almost exact gender switch over the period other factors remain almost identical!
So what has changed operationally?
10 years ago the majority of training was traditional ‘off-the-job’ classroom based delivery, today it is much more likely to be ‘on-the-job’, e-learning or one-to-one coaching of one form or another. This has had implications for people working in the training and development field and the skills they need to support the development of others.
In the original research 63.7% were employed in company, where as in 2007 the Develop the Developer survey reported 62%. A negligible change over 10+ years. So the perceived trend towards self employment has not been proven in this research.
On the other hand, membership to a professional institute by workers in this sector has increased from 49% to 82%.
Learning, development or training?
In the last 10 years there has been a significant change in the way we talk about our sector of work. We have moved from talking about training and development to learning and development. Interestingly, responders in the DTD survey thought it useful to differentiate training from development (76%) but not learning from development (52%). This may have long term implications...another article perhaps? Do practitioners understand the difference? Have we as a profession neglected areas of our responsibility or have they been delegated to other people?
"Ten years ago the majority of training was traditional off-the-job classroom based delivery, today it is much more likely to be on-the-job, e-learning or one-to-one coaching."
Key changes in training techniques
The results show a considerable change in emphasis in the types of techniques now used. How much of this is down to business need or the dramatic shift in demographics is unknown. Below is a summary of the highlights of some of the initial changes seen:
  • Reduction in the interest and use of outdoor development – from 42% to 30%.
  • Increasing:

    • A lot more focus on creativity techniques
    • The importance of business values
    • Organisational culture
  • Coaching has increased dramatically over the past 10 years.
  • Due to the increase in one-to-one training and coaching, there has been an increase in the use of therapy based techniques in recent years including CBT, NLP, stress management, solution centred etc.
  • In the past there was little concept of ageism or cultural assimilation: diversity and equal opportunities have only recently focused on these areas.
  • Use of intranet and extranet: while these technologies were available, few organisations used them. Now these technologies are the main communication and access channel for development within organisations. Either as the delivery route or management system.
  • There is a definite focus in moving towards business and organisational development, with an increasing trend towards 'holistic business improvement' and a move away from purely individual development.
The focus on teams and team working has changed considerably, with a move from the use of the outdoors to the increased use of real workplace problem solving. There has also been a trend to more inclusive and more collaborative working between customers and suppliers. So, the landscape has moved. Are all providers and users of services keeping up? What will the next 10 years bring?
This is an introduction to some of the findings from the 2007 Develop the Developer survey and a primer for a more in-depth series of articles due to appear later in the year.
Mike Morrison is director of RapidBI Ltd, a consulting and training company specialising in organisational development and the development of high performing teams and individuals. Read Mike’s HRD & OD Blog.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Reflections on the “Be, Know, Do” Model of Leader Development #1

Reflections on the “Be, Know, Do” Model of Leader Development #1

It may be a surprise to learn that the “Be, Know, Do” (BKD) model of leader development which has gained some degree of popularity in both formal and non-formal Christian leader development did not originate in the church, but in the U.S. Army.

In view of its endorsement and extensive use by such a large-scale and diverse organization whose mission wholly relies on the ongoing building of new leaders, the BKD model clearly has some degree of credibility.

There are questions, however, about the appropriateness and, most importantly, the sufficiency of this model for specifically Christian leader development. This Letter will begin to examine the BKD model as an overarching framework for understanding the goal and process of Christian leader development.

The Need for an Appropriate Goal

The very first step of designing an effective leader development strategy must be to clearly define the goal. Into what, exactly, are we trying to build the emerging leader? If our leader development efforts are successful, what they will produce? What will the leader “look like” at the end of an effective leader development process?

Thus, we must first define the “ideal” Christian leader - or, in our language, the “healthy” Christian leader. This definition of the healthy Christian leader then becomes the goal of all leader development activities. The “process” - or all the various activities that we implement to build the leader - must directly correspond to the goal and help the emerging leader move toward the goal in his development.

This highlights the extreme importance of having the right goal. If the goal is not appropriate or adequate, then the process (which proceeds from the goal) will be insufficient and the leader development work itself will not be successful.

The BKD Model as a Holistic Goal for Leader Development

The BKD model is a framework for understanding the goal of leader development. According to the Army, leaders lead others by their character, by their competence, and by their actions; therefore, effective leader development must focus on the leader’s character and values (”Be”), his competencies (”Know”), and his decisions and actions (”Do”).

Versions of the BKD model have influenced U.S. Army leadership doctrine for more than half a century, and the Army’s long-term, continuing reliance on this model is significant evidence of its robustness.

Clearly, this model provides a holistic goal, and leader development toward this goal becomes synonymous with the building of the whole person.

While the three components of the BKD model are necessarily interrelated and integrated, for the sake of clarity we will discuss each of them separately.

“Be” - Character First!

The Army sees itself as a values-based organization; therefore, the BKD model emphasizes “character-based” leadership. In addition to personal character development (in the seven main areas of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage), the “Be” component stresses adherence to organizationally-shared values that bind together all members of the Army. This component also addresses mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.

“Know” - Know What and Know How!

The second component focuses on competencies: what a leader needs to know (in the sense of both “know what” and “know how”), in four main areas:

  • Interpersonal skills (communication, coaching, teaching, counseling, motivating and empowering).
  • Conceptual skills (critical reasoning, creative thinking, ethical reasoning, and reflective thinking).
  • Technical skills (skills with equipment and systems).
  • Tactical skills (combat, and survival).

“Do” - Acting Well!

The last component of the BKD model focuses on the actions of a leader:

  • Influencing (making decisions, communicating those decisions, and motivating people).
  • Operating (accomplishing the mission through planning, executing, and assessing).
  • Improving (developing subordinates, building teams and creating learning opportunities and self-improvement).

Three Levels of Leadership

In an extremely useful demarcation, the Army’s BKD model distinguishes between three levels of leadership, with each level requiring distinct capacities and skills:

  • Direct leaders. Those involved in front-line, one-on-one leadership.
  • Mid-organizational leaders. Leaders who influence others indirectly through their subordinates as well as through the policies they establish and the climate they create.
  • Strategic leaders. The top leaders of the organization.


As we begin to reflect on the strengths and limitations of the BKD model, our purpose is not to critique the Army’s use of this model, but rather its use in distinctly Christian leader development.

The model has numerous strengths:

  • It articulates a clear, systematic goal for leader development. Too often, in Christian ministerial training, we simply perpetuate traditions, teaching as we ourselves were taught, without systematically defining what our specific goals actually are and without questioning whether or not our processes are likely to achieve those goals. Simply by codifying the often unstated views about the “ideal” Christian leader, the leader development process will be strengthened through this model - indeed, almost any halfway-decent goal is better than none!
  • The BKD model describes a holistic goal, attempting to address the developmental needs of the whole person. Sadly, a vast amount of Christian leader development consists merely of academic courses such as Old Testament Survey, New Testament Survey, Systematic Theology, Biblical Ethics and Church History, with little attempt being made to address spiritual life, relational capacity, character, calling and vision, not to mention the myriad of complex ministry competencies that are necessary for successful Christian leadership. Compared to this, the BKD model is a vast improvement!
  • The three components of the BKD model are, unarguably, all of vital importance for Christian leaders. In particular, the model explicitly highlights personal character development as a central and obligatory issue in leader development.
  • The BKD model not only outlines a holistic goal, but also offers substantial insight into the processes by which an emerging leader is built. The main developmental processes emphasized are:
    • Modeling and mentoring.
    • Hands-on experiences and job assignments.
    • Systematic feedback and evaluation.
    • Self-reflection and evaluation.
  • The BKD model’s observation of varying levels of leadership with correspondingly-different developmental needs (essentially in the “Know” and “Do” components) is an extremely useful insight for leader development in every sphere, including Christian ministry.
  • Without a clear goal in leader development, any evaluation is virtually impossible. The BKD model, by establishing such a clearly defined picture of the desired outcome of leader development, thus lays a foundation for effective evaluation of its effectiveness.
  • The BKD model’s high level of detail in its elaborations of the many attributes of each of the three components creates a rich and multi-faceted lens to facilitate effective leader development design. Recommended reading:
    • The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual: Be, Know, Do by The Center for Army Leadership
    • Be, Know, Do: Leadership the Army Way by the Leader to Leader Institute.

But, is it all positive?

In our next Letter, we will examine a number of significant limitations of the BKD model as a basis for the design of Christian leader development.


Three Approaches to Leader Development

 Three Approaches to Leader Development

In the last decade or so, there has been an increasing realization in the church around the world – especially in areas of fast church growth – of the need to build leaders. In response, there has been a steady growth of “leader development ministries.” But, what exactly does a “leader development ministry” do?
Essentially, there are three broad approaches that a leader development ministry can take in working with indigenous ministries:
1. The 4-P Approach
We will come in and train your leaders for you, using our curriculum, our teachers, our funds and we will give you our degrees upon completion.
This “we must do it for you” method is largely a remnant of old colonialist missions thinking.
It is the “4P” approach. The outsiders supply:
  • The Program (the curriculum).
  • The People (the teachers).
  • The Provision (the funding).
  • The Prestige (the degree at the end).
In some situations, this might be the best approach. For example, if there are absolutely no existing leaders, the only option may be for outsiders to build them.
However, this approach is not the best long-term activity. Clearly, there is not a high level of contextualization or indigenous ownership in this method. In addition, it is condescending and demeaning toward the capacity of the national leaders and churches to build their own leaders.
In addition, this approach presupposes that outsiders (with their inevitably limited awareness of the local culture, history and context) can effectively build the indigenous leaders – a rather bold assertion!
When this approach is used, there is usually talk of the outside ministry “phasing out” or “passing the baton” of responsibility to the indigenous leaders. This rarely occurs, however, since the indigenous leaders have learned to be the passive recipients of outside charity. If the outsiders stop doing the work, sadly, the whole thing often falls apart.
2. The Train the Trainer Approach
We will come and show you how to train. We will train you and then you will use the same materials and the same procedures and you will train others, who will then do the same with others, etc.
There may also be a certain amount of customization which is described as “contextualization.”
This “Train the Trainer” approach is currently in vogue.
The basic idea is: “we will show you how to do it, giving you the materials to use, and then you will do it (our way).”
This approach does have a little higher level of indigenous ownership than the previous approach since it involves the national leaders themselves doing the ongoing training.
This approach may also be appropriate when a high level of specialized training is needed.
However, this method does have significant weaknesses:
  1. The training is not deeply contextualized, since the national leader is being asked by the outsider, more or less, to use his materials and to do the training “his way.”
  2. Due to the “law of decreasing relearns,” the effectiveness of the training decreases, often quickly and dramatically, with each subsequent “passing on.”
  3. The program is never truly owned by the nationals. It will always be seen as an “outside” program (which, of course, it is). Typically, such programs are used for a while, perhaps several years, but then fall into disuse, because they don’t really meet the local need, being replaced by the latest program to come along.
  4. The program cannot be adapted to meet local needs; neither can it be changed in response to changing ministry environments. The leaders have not been taught to design; they’ve been taught to repeat. Their own capacities to understand and create leader development processes have not been nurtured; they’ve simply been taught how to teach a certain program in a certain way. (Sadly, sometimes the outside ministry even goes so far as to formally forbid the indigenous leaders from ever changing their program, requiring them to teach exactly the same thing exactly the same way – a truly extraordinary insistence on opposing the indigenization of leader development!)
This approach presupposes that outsiders (with their inevitably limited awareness of the local culture, history and context) know how to best build the indigenous leaders – again, a rather daring premise!
Those who use the “Train the Trainer” approach frequently do have a strategy for “phasing out” by “passing the baton” to the indigenous leaders once a sufficient number of them have been indoctrinated in the training materials and their use. In practice, however, the “law of decreasing relearns” and the lack of true ownership are often the fatal flaws of the strategy, and, after several years, the indigenous leaders turn, disillusioned, to the next outsider who comes along promoting his new and improved “train the trainer” method.
3. The Build the Designer Approach
We will come and explore with you the basic, biblical principles of how leaders are built, and, on the basis of those principles, we will then work with you as you develop the strategies, methods and tools that you will use as you build your own leaders.
Clearly, this method is considerably more difficult than the first two. However, if successful, it will yield a leader development process that is truly indigenized and contextualized, and is entirely owned, designed, operated and funded by the national leaders – one that is capable of being sustained and multiplied; one that is entirely capable of being changed whenever necessary.
This approach has the following characteristics:
  1. It is considerably harder to do.
  2. It takes a longer time to do.
  3. It requires a deep and genuine commitment from the indigenous leaders, since they are the ones, ultimately, who will design the work, do the work, and provide for its support.
  4. It requires a clear and accurate biblical model of how leaders are built, rather than merely a set curriculum along with preformed implementation strategies.
  5. It requires a deep and flexible willingness to explore and to learn on the parts of both the leader development ministry and the local leaders.
This approach presupposes that outsiders (with their inevitably limited awareness of the local culture, history and context) are simply not the best ones either to do or to design the leader development work – perhaps a more realistic hypothesis!
Significantly, this approach requires no “phasing out” or “passing of the baton” since the batons of both design and implementation are entirely in the hands of the indigenous leaders from the very beginning.
And because it’s theirs, they will use it and make it work.
The author had a significant “Aha!” moment many years ago. For several days, he was with a group of top leaders from a large church network in Asia. On the last day, hundreds of copies of the first book written by one of these leaders arrived, fresh from the printers. The author watched as many of the leaders excitedly tore open the packages and grabbed many copies of the book to take home. With animated joy, they threw the packages back and forth to one another. Clearly, this first book was very important to them. As he watched this, it occurred to the author that there existed probably dozens of books by foreign authors that, technically, were “better quality” than this one. But… this book was theirs! They owned it, they would use it, and it would work.
When the leader development program is designed and implemented by the local leaders, it will work much better than any imported system.
At the same time, this approach affirms that outside leader development ministries do have an important role in serving the indigenous leaders by working with them as they interpret and implement biblical principles. This is a true partnership of equals with neither domination nor dependency.
While any of the three approaches, or combinations thereof, might be appropriate in certain situations, an emphasis on the “Build the Designer” approach may provide our best chance of achieving truly indigenized and contextualized leader development in the long-term.

Encouraging the Heart

Encouraging the Heart

Runtime: 20 Minutes

This program is filled with real-life examples of managers helping others believe in themselves. You'll visit a software company, a public utility, a nonprofit agency, and a manufacturer to see the positive results achieved by implementing the fifth principle of Kouzes &Posner's groundbreaking Leadership Challenge model...Encouraging the Heart.

Executives, managers, supervisors and team leaders will learn:
  • Why it is important to find time for employee recognition
  • How appreciation mobilizes people to excel
  • The benefits of celebrating both individual and group achievements

The seven principles of Encouraging the Heart learned are:
  • Set clear standards
  • Expect the best
  • Pay attention
  • Personalize recognition
  • Tell the story
  • Celebrate together
  • Set the example

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Customer-Driven Approach to Molding Tomorrow’s Leaders by Frank R. Lloyd

Published July 2008

A Customer-Driven Approach to Molding Tomorrow’s Leaders

Frank R. Lloyd, Ph.D.

To cultivate exceptional leaders, CLOs must seek changes in the delivery of executive education and collaborate with academic institutions to develop custom course content that is beneficial to both parties.

According to conventional wisdom, 70 percent of employee development happens on the job, 20 percent through formal and informal relationships with bosses and mentors and 10 percent in the classroom.

However, we are seeing a new dynamic emerge, one that suggests that 50 percent of employee development takes place through challenging job assignments, 30 percent in the classroom and 20 percent through community involvement. This theory suggests that powerful learning experiences are available everywhere and that experiential classroom instruction can be tied more closely to the job than ever before.

As a result, CLOs can no longer assume that what is in the business school brochures is all that’s available for meaningful management education. Businesses and executive education providers must work together to design and develop course content and delivery formats.

Many CEOs and CLOs remain skeptical of business schools’ ability to change and deliver programming in executive education that promotes high performance in industries, organizations and teams. They seem to believe schools are restricted to the ABC method of instruction that has been used since teaching began:

A. An educational institution offers courses according to curricula that convey subject matter knowledge in the amount and timing needed for the school to bestow various credentials.
B. An instructor has a predeveloped syllabus for the presentation of course content for each individual course.
C. Each course is presented according to that outline.

Naturally, instructors feel comfortable in that structure because it’s theirs. But if businesses are going to receive the relevant education they need to compete and succeed in the face of demographic challenges, global competition and the accelerating pace of change, it’s going to be the responsibility of CLOs to seek out changes in the delivery of the educational product and the responsibility of educational institutions to listen, question, challenge and advocate. In other words, it’s up to academic institutions and businesses to collaborate in developing and delivering content in a way that will have an immediate and lasting impact.

At first blush, this sounds like a revolutionary concept. But all it really means is that we have to communicate with each other. CLOs need to be clear about their needs, scope and parameters, and educational providers need to understand CLOs’ needs and buying criteria. They have to establish honest, business-like relationships based on two-way communication.

Once this is achieved, businesses can access a university’s research-based content and a learning environment that provides a safe place to think and act differently. More importantly, they can access instructors who facilitate participants’ learning using their own experiences, as well as external perspectives — instructors who challenge participants to think broadly and innovatively, enable them to reconnect with fundamentals and a wider set of purposes and promote reflection and reassessment.

All this fosters courage and openness to change, which after all is what businesses are looking for to survive. But schools also need this interaction. When CLOs and university providers can communicate well, business schools serve the business community in immediate as well as long-term ways, and this contributes to the schools’ relationships, reputations and revenues. I have seen this put into practice where the school and its business client become reinvigorated by the possibilities.

Learner-Driven Teaching Methods
One executive education provider offers a number of leadership courses designed to teach future managers in corporations how to be successful. A pharmaceutical company that sent many of its employees through these leadership courses came to its partnering university and asked for something “a little different.” This company wanted a two-day program that would change the way its managers thought. This is the essence of education, and it’s very different from the training in specific tasks or specialized knowledge that most companies think to provide for their employees through a school or college.

The educational institution accepted the challenge even though its leaders knew it was a departure from what they had done in the past. This approach had to do with promoting new ways of thinking within a specific organizational culture, not how to think within a specific intellectual discipline. To make this program successful, the institution had to ask the instructors to be facilitators more than teachers.

They would have to pose open-ended questions to students without having any idea what the answers might be and then respond extemporaneously to the questions posed. This made the professors participating in the program understandably nervous, but this approach was necessary to explore the thought patterns of the employees.

Through this relatively unstructured program, the strangest thing happened: Between the first and second sessions, the professors digested and analyzed the answers they received during the first open-ended discussion, developed relevant teaching points around that analysis and on the second day offered insight and expertise that spurred additional discussions.

A day after the program ended, the two professors said they couldn’t remember the last time they were so intellectually stimulated and sought out opportunities to teach similar classes. This approach turned out to be beneficial for both the business and educational provider.

Flexible Delivery Schedules: “Spatial Learning”
Time is another reason CLOs must partner with academic institutions to develop the delivery of their learning programs. Although many companies have high-potential employees who would benefit from customized educational programs, these companies also realize they are limited in the amount of time these employees can spend away from the job in learning activities. The company’s bottom line depends on their on-the-job performance.

An executive education department at a private university’s business school faced just such a dilemma with a high-profile, high-pressure financial institution. This organization desired a leadership development program for its up-and-coming managers. The university’s representatives outlined the many programs the school offered in this area, everything from an advanced leadership program that met regularly over a nine-month period to short one- and two-day programs.

“But you don’t understand,” the company’s learning officer said. “We can’t spare two days, let alone nine months.”

“OK,” the university representative replied. “How much time can you spare?”

“Two hours. Max.”

Undaunted, the executive education department devised a concept called “spatial learning” in which curricula were developed that could be delivered in the two-hour periods the company had allocated. Then the school formed “sunrise breakfast sessions,” during which smaller groups from the company gathered to talk about the practical applications of the theories that had been presented during the general class session. These breakfast sessions helped the university supply the company with a complete course in a time frame that suited the needs and demands of that company.

Critical Mass and Global Reach
There is a high demand for leadership programs these days because companies are looking to develop a critical mass of talent ready to assume leadership responsibilities at enterprise, business-unit and top functional levels. Not only that, they also are looking for these groups of officers, executives and high-level managers to be in alignment with the organization’s overall mission and strategy and to mobilize their respective departments around the world in this endeavor.

This is another area in which CLOs and executive education providers can profitably collaborate — if they will communicate well. Here is how one firm collaborated with a business school provider to achieve the necessary critical mass, alignment and global reach:

Two years ago, a worldwide retailer of travel products and a provider of distribution and technology solutions for the travel industry enrolled seven high potentials into a yearlong advanced leadership course offered by the executive education department at a nearby university. Based on their positive experience in the public program, the company seized the opportunity. It formed a partnership with the university, in which the executive education department developed a leadership program specifically designed for one of the firm’s major operating units and the company’s corporate culture.

The university sent faculty members to the company’s headquarters so they could learn firsthand how that culture operated within the overall organizational framework. Then the faculty members designed a program that dealt exclusively with developing leaders within that organizational culture and taught it at the company’s headquarters, not the university’s campus.

Was it a success? Apparently so, because the company has since asked the university to formulate a similar program for all its units for delivery at locations in South America and Eastern Europe, each with its own specific cultural anomalies.

Specifically Tailored Course Content
The human resources department of a large company recently asked an executive education department to design a course for its personnel that had nothing to do with HR skills. It wanted a program to teach department personnel the languages of finance, accounting and marketing. Why? Because only then, the HR department head reasoned, could his personnel understand their places, their roles and their effects on the corporation’s balance sheet.

He wanted them to know where they could find the costs of such things as recruiting, hiring, training and turnover on the balance sheet and how investments in these areas would pay off. Then they would be able to determine how the changes they proposed would affect the firm’s overall success.

But why marketing? The HR director said that nine times out of 10, when the human resources department wants to initiate a new program or change an existing one, it is met with resistance. The marketing aspect of the executive education custom course was designed specifically to teach the HR professionals within that organization how to brand their offerings and effectively communicate the HR value proposition to internal customers.

Immediate Application
Whether we are talking about learner-driven teaching methods, flexible delivery formats, critical mass and global reach or developing skill in the language of business, the ultimate test of collaboration between a CLO and a business school partner is the application of new learning for the benefit of the company and the participant.

Many custom executive education programs do this by embedding projects into the program structure. The CLO needs to be clear about the firm’s overall business situation, the management development implications of its business challenges and the resulting learning agenda for the company. The business school provider must listen, question and challenge to identify and structure tangible business issues into effective learning vehicles.

When this communication occurs, a company can achieve immediate benefits from the application of learning to specific projects, as well as long-term benefits as the participants continue to apply their learning to new situations.

For example, a regional beverage distribution company wished to develop general manager skills among its sales and operations managers. The participants were divided into teams, and each was assigned a company challenge in areas such as overtime, route optimization and implementation of new information systems.

The teams had one month to research the topics and return with formal recommendations. Program instructors and the company’s top management accepted and implemented the teams’ recommendations, saving thousands of dollars and reallocating resources to new initiatives.

Using business projects as part of a customized learning experience makes it easier to assess the effectiveness of a program and the company’s return on investment. For example, it is easy to identify the number of program projects that “go live,” retain executive sponsorship and achieve their business metrics.

Getting Tomorrow’s Leaders Today
What are the leadership traits corporations need to be looking for as they enter the second decade of the 21st century? There is no one correct answer to this question. Each corporation has the right to define the characteristics of its leadership team and then turn to its educational partner and say, “Make this dream a reality.”

This is how the CEO of a Houston-based energy company defined it. She asked her executive education partner to develop a program unique to her company that would help in “developing the skills and talents required of tomorrow’s leaders.” She was very specific in what she wanted and outlined her requirements in a letter to her educational partner.

“Our culture looks to create an environment where leaders must be willing to be questioned, demonstrate vulnerability and not take things personally. In other words, good leaders need to be able to embrace change and overcome failures,” she wrote.

“Our leaders also must be able to demonstrate passion, energy, and be ruthlessly disciplined. While discipline, execution and safety are key ingredients to our success, this must be balanced with a thirst for creative ideas and a willingness to challenge the status quo.”

An off-the-shelf, straight-from-the-catalog business school course open to all will not meet the needs of this CEO or others who want to establish their next leadership generation. It is incumbent on corporations and business schools to collaborate and develop and deliver custom executive education programs that develop leaders who will assure the ongoing success of their firms.

This means CLOs must clearly articulate need, scope and outcomes, and providers must clearly express their capability, compatibility and commitment. When such open, two-way communication happens, companies can access the rigor of the academy, and business schools can access the relevance of the workplace. Together, they can develop and deliver customized educational experiences for executives that impact immediate business success and long-term business survival.

Frank R. Lloyd, Ph.D., is associate dean of executive education for the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. He can be reached at


Learning Olympics by Ray Anthony , CLO Magazine


Published August 2008

Learning Olympics: Development Through Competition

Ray Anthony

Since ancient Greek times, organized competition has been an engaging way to develop skills and knowledge. With the 2008 Summer Olympic Games kicking off in Beijing this month, learning leaders can take a cue from those athletic competitions to engage learners and deliver results that last.

When you ask people what the Olympic Games mean to them, you’ll hear things such as friendly competition, breaking records, being the best, striving for perfection, winning and being honored just to compete. But the Olympic spirit goes beyond just competition and record setting. It engages the body and mind in a quest to set a lofty example and elevate the human spirit.

According to the Olympic Charter, “Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.”

As learning architects look to build effective learning models and methods that deliver results and create learning that lasts, they can take a cue from the Olympic games by creating their own learning olympics. The learning olympics model of training brings with it all the good attributes associated with the real Olympics and gives people a structured forum to learn, build teams, compete, feel challenged, have fun and experience a sense of accomplishment in one training package.

Growing up, many of us enjoyed games, everything from hide-and-seek to cards to monopoly to sophisticated video and online games. Then there are sports. The focus was on enjoyment, the experience, bonding with others and, of course, winning. If important competition was involved and prizes awarded, memories of those games often are indelibly etched in our hearts and minds. Competition is deeply embedded in our way of life. Whether you call them games, activities or events, companies are benefiting by adding more of them to their mix of training methodologies.

Learning architects can incorporate the Olympic spirit into a learning olympics that, when implemented effectively, can enhance training results and lead to significant behavioral and organizational change.

Sitting in a traditional, static classroom setting observing a trainer who is using text-saturated PowerPoint slides cannot compare to the kinetic experience of a live, team-oriented challenge in which competitive, fast-paced action and learning gets the blood rushing and the neurons firing in new ways.

Even well-designed and delivered Web-based instruction cannot generate the excitement of a set of engaging, team-based activities. Learning olympics, however, is not designed to replace valuable traditional instructional methods, but to supplement them.

Learning olympics is a training platform that appeals across generations and personality styles. The Learning olympics building blocks can be applied to just about any work discipline, including sales and marketing, customer support, engineering, manufacturing, administration, leadership, quality improvement, productivity and research and development.

Design Elements of a Learning Olympics
Making events challenging and competitive is the core of any learning olympics-type event, but so is creating an engaging learning experience. Here are other guidelines and ideas on designing learning olympics:

Events and duration: The real Olympics have numerous events in which individuals and teams compete in a variety of sports activities. In an Innovation Olympics learning event, for example, six team events each lasted two hours. This was an ideal maximum time frame to experience learning and skills and keep excitement and attention at a peak.

Depending upon goals and the activity, organizers might choose to allocate 15-30 minutes or less for each event and allow teams the choice to participate in several or all events. In the Innovation Olympics, each event built on the previous event’s learning or skills development objectives, yet was flexible and independent enough to allow people to pick and choose which events to compete in.

Setting performance and learning goals: Each event should have at least one core performance goal and one core learning goal, along with subordinate ones. For example, in one part of the Innovation Olympics, teams were given a package of wooden sticks, paper clips, string and two hot-glue guns. Their performance goal was to construct the tallest free-standing structure with the materials. The core learning goal was to develop effective teamwork focused on solving a problem. Subordinate learning goals included how to generate creative ideas, have open discussions, plan quickly and take calculated risks to achieve superior results.

Team focus: The learning olympics model lends itself to team building and teamwork. While individual activities should not be excluded, many people like to collaborate in a focused group, and many organizations want to build teams that work together effectively on multidisciplinary projects.

Scoring: Like the real Olympics, every event has criteria to score the top three winners (gold, silver and bronze). The Innovation Olympics used a point system in each of the events. For example, in the Creative Change Course (see the “In Practice” on page 36), judges used a detailed scoring sheet that involved more than 15 performance-criteria measurements based upon the goals of the event.

Rewards: Television sports journalist Jim McKay popularized the phrase “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” to describe the range of feelings that come from the end of a competition. In learning olympics, hype the thrill of victory, but eliminate the agony of defeat for teams that tried but missed by giving out a variety of awards.

Awards can recognize top-scoring teams, as well as the best risk-taking team, the most creative team or offbeat rewards, such as awards for the group that overanalyzed or overplanned but under-implemented or the group that had the most fun working together. There are no losers in a learning olympics.

Rewards might consist of, for example, $100 to each winning team member, gift cards to restaurants or retail stores, engraved trophies or plaques and even silly but meaningful awards such as stuffed animals that symbolize a specific desired work trait.

Recording and reliving the event: Photograph and videotape the team events and then edit the photos into creative slide shows and video clips that portray a fun and interesting story. Use customized graphics, cartoons or illustrations to deliver key messages that reinforce what participants learned.

Burn the slides and video to DVDs to give to each team member. Reliving the experience is a strong reinforcement tool. People often take pride in showing the DVD contents to co-workers, family and friends.

Fast paced and exciting: Excitement is created when participants have a deadline to meet and are challenged with constant action. Whenever possible, design some physical activity into the event, whereby participants are actively doing something, rather than passively listening or observing.

To elevate the level of excitement for participants, consider streaming the events live over the Web for others in the organization or develop a video podcast afterward. Think of other ways to raise the adrenaline level of the participants.

Side games: If you have several learning olympics events and a large group that is shuttling between activities (and have extra scheduled time in between to ensure continuity), set up small arcades of fun games to keep people involved before they enter the next event.

For example, you could have several mini-basketball games, in which people try to pitch a softball-size basketball inside the net to illustrate targeting goals.

For a sales olympics, you could give people dart guns to shoot the “competitor,” in which participants score a hit when they strike the target. The larger the group, the greater the potential and need for fun side games and prizes to keep excitement flowing.

Presentation and handouts: While a learning olympics event by itself should create intrinsic learning and skills development, consider amplifying the results by having a brief 15-minute to three-hour concentrated training presentation before starting the event to give people the context to make the activity meaningful to their development. In addition, give out a reference booklet, checklists or other valuable handouts and materials that give helpful information to support the goals of the event.

Scalability: Depending upon the design of a specific learning olympics event, make it scalable for groups of all sizes. For example, three Innovation Olympics events can accommodate thousands of people, while the other three require abundant resources to facilitate groups exceeding 100 participants. It’s not always feasible because of resource constraints, such as facilitators needed, rooms, materials, time or budget. Look for ways to stretch resources to make the events as scalable as possible.

Fun and creative: The core of any learning olympics is the enjoyment and entertainment it brings. When people play and have fun within structured learning, the results, including comprehension and retention, can be superior to traditional training methods. From the beginning, tell people to let loose and have fun, but also engineer the fun factor into learning by using creative ways to get people relaxed, uninhibited and playful.

For Innovation Olympic events, we used lively background music to keep energy high, played comedy-oriented audio and projected video clips such as those in “America’s Funniest Home Videos” at appropriate times to get people laughing. Consider embedding magicians, comedians and other performers as event co-facilitators, so they can use their skills to reinforce key learning points while adding the critical entertainment factor.

Using a series of ongoing learning olympics in your organization can be an excellent way to train, motivate and energize employees. But first, target the groups that would most enjoy and benefit from this type of training, then start small with one event. Let the games begin!

Ray Anthony is president of Anthony Innovation Group and a consultant, trainer, executive coach and author of six books and more than 50 articles. He has worked with Fortune 100 companies, as well as NASA and the CIA, on organizational change and innovation-acceleration strategies. He can be reached at



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